AT&T announced on Wednesday that it's now offering Lewisburg residents its U-verse service for high-speed Internet connections, TV channels' access and what the mammoth telephone company now calls "U-verse voice."
"AT&T U-verse brings together your TV, broadband, home phone and AT&T wireless services - all on one bill - with unique features that provide a new level of integration," the company said in an announcement at Lewisburg City Hall.
While that point from AT&T is aimed at area residents, local leaders have acknowledged the addition of broadband is important for the community's economic development. At least on prospective employer needs redundant broadband for its security and on-going operations, officials have said.
"As Tennessee policy makers, our goal is to increase investment throughout the state and give consumers more choices and innovative new services," state Sen. Bill Ketron said. "The expansion of AT&T U-verse also supports economic growth and consumers in the Lewisburg area will now have the choice they've been waiting for."
Ketron sponsored Tennessee's state-wide cable TV franchising bill that's now law. Previously cable TV services had to get franchise authority from every local government they served.
Cable TV companies "spent close to $3 million on lobbyists," Ketron said of the storied legislative battle.
"I carried the bill because I believe in competition," the Murfreesboro Republican said. "It brings down prices for consumers... I converted two months ago from Comcast to AT&T, spend $48 a month less and get more programs."
While singing praises for AT&T U-verse, Ketron also sounded a bipartisan note, explaining that it was then-House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, a Democrat, who "helped bring the opposing parties together."
AT&T U-verse in Tennessee is possible because of the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act of 2008, signed by Gov. Phil Bredesen in that year, the company said.
Also present at Lewisburg's City Hall for the acknowledgement of U-verse starting here, was state Rep. Eddie Bass (D-Prospect).
"This is great news for the citizens of Lewisburg," Bass said.
The announcement from AT&T reflected participation by Terry Wallace, a former county mayor who is now the city's immediate past economic developer.
"We should recognize the great work of our legislative leaders," Wallace said, naming Ketron and Bass.
Lanie Johnson, regional manager, external affairs, AT&T Tennessee, also applauded Bass and Ketron.
"We are thrilled to begin offering U-verse in Lewisburg today," Johnson said.
AT&T U-verse TV is the only 100 percent Internet Protocol-based television (IPTV) service offered by a national service provider, the company said.
"Cable has been the only game in town for too long," said Bryan Klamer, general manager-Home Solutions for AT&T Tennessee. "We're excited to change that in Lewisburg."